I Won’t Back Down

I’ve lived a lifetime defending turf.  And, believe me, there is turf to be defended.  The stances of churches with which I was familiar and the general leanings of much of society in my youth gave stern warnings of the shifts in morality and ethics which should be watched and avoided.  In those days, I took heed as one instructed.  As I have aged, firsthand experience has replaced intellectual musings (if you could call any of those musings intellectual).  I developed what the old-timers called “backbone” which would not break if it broke your heart.  I have lived to see changes in myself, sometimes drastic changes in others and have come to understand the profitability and problems of rigidity.

The point is well-taken that there are pitfalls for the rock-ribbed.  One is that a good position can be overstated.  Noble stances designed to protect and preserve values can be taken too far.  Many things cannot be extrapolated beyond a certain point.  Wisdom is a key biblical virtue, but it is not needed if everything is black and white.  Neither is the leading of the Holy Spirit.  It cannot be denied that carelessness has cost Christians and society in general much goodness and godliness, and there are some to whom there is no hallowed ground, but every standing tradition need not be left standing.  I say this with a sigh and wipe a tear knowing that beauty has perished in the burning of edifices.

I respect the traditions of the elders even if I do not respect the elders.  Each generation has its faults, and it’s easy to point them out from a distance.  Some things improve over time, and some diminish.  It’s important that we know the difference between the baby and the bath water.  The Apostle Paul spoke both for and against tradition.  Jesus did the same.  It’s important that we understand the bases for systems of thought as we examine their flaws.  Old things can outlive their usefulness, but the purposes for which they were created may still exist.  Every application is not immortal, but good values have inexhaustible self-lives and should be kept on hand for reference and use.

We are losing the serious, moral basis of society.  Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said that- not some preacher in a legalistic (whatever that means) church.  It is easy to see the downgrade (mentioned in churches as a controversy over 100 years ago) when examining societal shifts but also as we consider things deemed to be devout by concerned people in Christian churches.  Frankly, I’m astonished at how many unheeded warnings are actually coming true.  As the cautious approach did not make enough haste for the travelers, they discarded prudence and pushed their vehicles to speeds unsuitable for the conditions.  It would have been wiser to heed the instructor’s advice to accelerate as if there were an egg under the pedal.

I’ve never taken a stand which did not have a price attached.  A person needs to have settled an issue within them and with God if they are going to be able to withstand the blowback from people who do not or will not understand.  To be honest, in some of those things I was wrong, but there have been times in which the power of God has been seen by me and others.  There are things I no longer see the way I did in the past, but certain of my positions are essentially the same.  We should understand that there are issues which change with the times and issues which are eternal.  I believe that every life should have sacred spaces.  God help us to stake them out and preserve them against decay.

Sterl

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